i made it to ENGLAND. i just arrived earlier today and the first thing i noticed is that they all talk funny. i try to tell them that but they are not amused. haha
anyways it is late here and i need to get some rest but just wanted to make my first journal entry. i am in the UK now and there is no turning back. this is all very exciting. i will write in this tomorrow. ciao
It is Tuesday morning at around 6am now. i am still having trouble getting through the whole night sleeping so i thought i would write in my journal. (pics at the bottom)
I never imagined that England could be so amazing! It is truely a majestic city with more history than i could ever comprehend. So my first real full day here i got up at 6am and went for a run. i know....lame, but i had to do it after eating fish n chips and an English Breakfast the previous day that included sausage, 2 eggs, 2 different kinds of bacon and toast with beans on it. yes they love putting beans on toast here. very interesting. it was pretty good i might say.
I am staying right across the street from Hyde Park and Kensington gardens and it is truely a beautiful green space. It almost makes me want to conserve gas and go green. hahaha just kidding mom! I walked all through the biggest park in London for a couple hours and they had a princess Diana tribute along with statues everywhere which you can see in my pictures. it was awesome.
i then embarked on my journey and took the sightseeing double decker tour bus all around London. I am usually not a fan of tourist activities but there was so much to see and the only way to really see it efficiently is to take one of these sight seeing buses. You complete the full roundtrip in 4 hours and you can hop on and hop off at any of the 60 stops. It was awesome!!! From Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London to where Winston Churchill lived to kings and queens and dukes it was an amazing ride. i was looking at castles that were built 1000 years ago. The whole city is truely a historic landmark. When i entered the center (they spell it centre. haha...morons!) I could feel thousands of years of history. it was soooo interesting! I learned so much about this city yesterday I can't even begin to go into it because I would be writing for weeks.
After the bus tour i just wanted to walk around the main city areas and meander and mingle. My favorite parts of traveling are the little things like trying the food, walking the streets and talking to people. That is my passion! I learned that even though this is an English speaking country, a lot of the time they couldn't understand me. The reason however is because it is truely a metropolitan city with different ethnicities everywhere. there are many Greeks, Lebanese, French and Indians in this city. I mean a lot!!! There are Indian restaurants on every corner and I love Indian food so that was a good thing. I got some Indian food and walked around for a couple hours and went home after that.
I was spent after walking around all day and being up at 6am so I just went to a Brittish restaurant/pub for dinner and went home.
Besides the fact that they all talk funny here and put beans on everything it has been an amazing last couple of days. A few things i learned today about the culture.....- they call me CHAP, they always say CHEERS MATE, they spell words weird (tires is TYRES.....idiots. haha)and they drink beer at lunch. Yes...beer at lunch! That's it...Im moving here!!!
P.S. The beer is luke warm though. not so good.....hehehe
so im still in France. i tried to get train tickets from Paris to either Florence or Turin, Italy. Apparently that is a hot ticket because all tickets from Paris to anywhere in Italy is sold out for the next ........... 5 DAYS!!! well since i dont have 5 days to kill i decided to go to Lyon, France which is France's third largest city. well that plan didnt work becuase the train ticket person sold me the wrong ticket and i am in Dijon, France right now. hehehe
Dijon is on the way still so im heading the right direction at least. it is actually a cool little college town and WAY cheaper than Paris. stayed the night here last night and ended up getting a tickey to Turin, Italy here in a couple of hours. I hear Turin is a great city and it is on the way to Florence so i will stop for the day and then head to Florence tomorrow........that is if i buy the right ticket. hehe
if my spelling is bad i am typing this all on a french keyboard. it is tricky!!!
here are a couple pics of the Eiffel Tower at night. i will try to update my journal again in 2 days. ciao!
Yes....yes....yes i finally did make it to Florence and i am happy i did. It is just like people descibed it - cobblestone streets, long alley ways, expensive designer clothes shops everywhere, the friendliest people and some of the oldest standing buildings that still exist from the rennasaince days. London was fun, Paris was surprisingly outstanding but Florence has to be my favorite so far on this European adventure.
Now that i finally made it to the right city i decided to start off with a waling tour of all of the historical parts of Florence. It was well worth it.!!! I am not big on touristy things like that but i needed to make sure i was seeing everything as well as understanding what i was looking at. We were looking at buildings built in the 1200s and still with their orignial foundation. A lot of the buildings in the historical area burned down in a huge fire in the 1200s but some remained and those were the ones we looked at. the old buildings had huge iron circles hanging off them so people (wealthy) could tie up their horses. there were little window looking things on the building that our tour guide said was for poor people to beg and put their hands through and ask the wealthy for money. The window shaped thing was low enough so the the beggers could put their hands through and also placed low so the wealthy didnt have to look at their faces. Pretty crazy stuff!
Sculptures are all over Florence. from the center of the city and outwards you could find sculptures outside on everything. On churches and building everywhere. It really takes you back in time. you almost feel like your in the 13th century sometimes.........but then someone s cell phone rings in my ear. I went and saw perhaps the most famous sculpture in the world today.....The David. I have never been into scupture art much but when i saw this i became a fan!! It was so incredible to look at this sculpture that i have seen so many times on tv and in books. it was there in the flesh.....i mean stone. the detail on it was amazing!!!! veins going down his arms, definition in his muscles, his feet and quite a robust looking butt i might say. haha it was so worth the hour and a half i had to wait in line!!!
The best thing about Italy is the people though. They are so warm and nice. The stereotype is true and yes they all talk with their hands. it is quite amusing! Most people here also speak English pretty good which was surprising for me. in France not many people did but here they almost all speak a little. I was surprised to see how many Americans are here. There are a ton!! a lot of schools. i presume they are high schoolers on easter break but there were a ton of them. i would say 1 in 4 people i saw on the streets walking around were American. it was quite surprising!!
The food is also amazing here. Whether it is getting the thin crust pizza from the cafes or sitting down and getting a bowl of past the food is to die for!! no wonder a lot of italians have a little more portly figures. Also i noticed that they use pork for everything here. you can get filet of pork, have it on your pizza, have it shredded or have it in a paninni on its own. Ham and different forms of pork seem to be their chosen meat here. it is everywhere and all over the menu.
All the stereotypes of the italians are true. great warm people, talk with their hands (not to be confused with the American - talk to the hand) and great food!!
Well i bought the right ticket this time because i woke up in Munich, Germany! I just got here a few hours ago and thought write a short blurb here. The direct trip from Florence to Munich is about 9 hours. I got the overnight train ticket and a bed on the train and slept on a train for the first time. It wasnt bad but not great either. they cram 6 people into a small compartment so it is me with 5 other strangers and we are all very close to each other. i slept through most of the night though so it wasnt too bad! i woke up about half way through my trip and looked out the window and saw snow! I just went from 85 degree weather to snow all over the ground in about 4 hours. we were going through the Swiss alps and it was cold!!!! From what i could see it looked stunning! beatiful trees and landscape everywhere. i couldnt see that much because it was dark but i could make out some things. i kind of wish i made this trip during the day so i could see the landscape but i had to get to Munich and the overnight trip made sense.
So far it is about 45 degrees here in Munich and it has rained a little today. My German experience so far had me ordering a schnitzel for lunch and i have to be honest....i ordered it because i liked saying schnitzel. the waiter probably thought i was trying to order like 5 schnitzels because i kept saying it over and over.
Well i have only been here a few hours so i am going to go brave the cold weather and check out some sites. i will write another Munich journal in a couple days with pictures. auf wiederhören....
I was in Munich for a total of 3 days and the town is about one thing.....beer....beer......beer. My trip to Munich was to drink beer and eat Bratwurst and any kind of wurst (sausage). It is a beatiful city with a vibrant shopping area on the streets. The people here were very nice and and spoke decent English but not like in Italy. There were a lot of Americans here as well which was surprising to me. Germany in general has the most beautiful land of what i have seen. I mean it had all the old castles and building that most of western Europe has but once you get out of the Munich city area it is just strikingly beautiful. The Bavarian alps are out of a storybook and the forest are the greenest green i have ever seen. it was amazing!!!
I went to the Hofbruas House which is the oldest beer garden/brewery in the world. It was awesome! they give you a 1 liter beer (for lunch mind you) and that is normal there. There beer here and everywhere in Germany is awesome!! Then as i am drinking my beer women come down the alley's with pretzals bigger than my head. i kid you not! these things were huge. A lot of couple will get a large beer and a large pretzel and call it a day. i ended up eating bratwurst with saurkraut while i washed down my half gallon of beer for lunch. then they have a live old school german band in the corner playing old Bavarian music every 10 minutes. the whole place erupts and starts singing German pride chants. it was nuts!!!! These people are very passionate about their beer and they make everything that involves it a big raucous celebration. it was a lot of fun and like nothing i have witnessed before.
i then had to go lay down becuase i was so stuffed from all the beer and bratwurst in me. When i felt a little better i got up and continued to explore the city. i climbed to the top of their St Peters cathedral tower and had a gorgeous view of the entire city!! Now when i say climb i mean it. there are no elevators. you have to take over a thousand steps to get up to the top. i would say you have to be in pretty good health to do it. the pay off though is worth it.
I then met a couple of guys at the bar later that evening that were traveling solo. We ended up going out to a club that night and this was the first time i went out to a club since being in Europe. It was a blast!! techno and house music everywhere and like 15 rooms to party in. It was a lot of fun but i felt it in the morning when i had to get up and get on a 10am train to Amsterdam. let me remind you that the club doesnt even open until 1130pm and closes at 7am. they really know how to party here.
Alright now off to the only city in the world where you can get a hooker and a joint with your scrammbled eggs - Amsterdam. Just calm down mom....I am not doing that stuff..... but i will stroll through the Red Light district to check it out as i hear it is bizarre.